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Becoming a Minimalist

Towards the latter part of last year, I was able to put into words, for the first time, that I suffered from emptiness. After struggling with depression and ongoing mood episodes for years, it was always a fight to find balance. But I never found balance, and try as I may – even with the right meds and healthcare and everything in between – the sadness purveyed.

I realised then that perhaps it wasn’t sadness at all, it wasn’t even loneliness. I was just aridly empty, and exhausted from trying to fill the desolation.

If being alone with your thoughts makes you sick with anxiety, the solution? Never be alone. Rather, make too many plans, compulsively live on your phone, don’t fall asleep to silence – fall asleep to ANYTHING but your own existence. Your job is stressful? That’s ok, just go home to a bottle of wine and blame it on ‘the day you had’. Unhappy with how you feel within yourself? That’s ok, just spend money you don’t have and expose your tired mind and body to a world of hedonistic consumption — distract yourself from your insecurities for as long as possible. Lacking in confidence? That’s ok, just allow people to walk all over you and keep smiling and trying and being gracious because at the end of the day all you really want is to be liked.

But at what expense do these excuses come?

We live in a world of consumption – it is funnelled down our throats and lasered into our retinas 24/7. We fill our lives with things we don’t need so that we can feel better about ourselves. And at the end of the day we have everything we could ever want, and we are desperately unhappy.

In my December staycation I had an incredible revelation: that simple is magnificent, no expectation is ok, and I am enough (you can read about it here). It allowed me to relook at my life, refocus, and attempt in the new year to live a life of quality. Hence, I am on the road to minimalism. It’s an endeavour to be more discerning, to edit the unnecessary and cut out what doesn’t grow me and bring me value – and this includes society’s biggest coping mechanism: alcohol. As I wrap my head around the philosophy and begin to implement it into my life, even the notion of a domestic detox, a declutter of home and closet, becomes exciting. My quality of life is already improving; I’m working harder with more motivation, gymming for endorphins not for weight loss, investing in people not in things. I’m spending less money. Instead of buying things, I’m working towards things. I’m happy.

I watched this documentary about the Minimalist movement, a more specified look at the drivers of this refined way of thinking in the world’s consumptive capital: America. I highly recommend you watch it. Everyone should watch it.

Below is a minimalist maisonette in Islington, UK, designed by architect Larissa Johnston. Focus only on what you use, what brings you function, and most importantly, value. Home – and life – can be a spacious, joyful, light-filled existence without clutter weighing it down.

Please note, this article passes no judgement on anyone else, nor the way others choose to live their lives. It is purely a self-assessment and personal journey that I wish to record.

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